Casterlow-Bey v. Tacoma News Tribune

Filing 4

ORDER denying 1 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; plaintiff has 21 days from the date of this Order to pay the filing fee or file an amended complaint, or this matter will be dismissed; Plaintiff's Motion for Court Appointed Counsel is also DENIED; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN) Modified on 8/31/2017 (DN). (cc to pltf)

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HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 GARY CASTERLOW-BEY, CASE NO. C17-5649RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 11 ORDER DENYING IFP v. TACOMA NEWS TRIBUNE, 12 Defendant. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Casterlow-Bey’s Motion for Leave to 15 proceed in forma pauperis, supported by his proposed complaint. Casterlow-Bey also seeks court 16 appointed counsel. [Dkt. #s 1, 1-1, and 1-2]. 17 A district court may permit indigent litigants to proceed in forma pauperis upon 18 completion of a proper affidavit of indigency. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The Court has broad 19 discretion in resolving the application, but “the privilege of proceeding in forma pauperis in civil 20 actions for damages should be sparingly granted.” Weller v. Dickson, 314 F.2d 598, 600 (9th Cir. 21 1963), cert. denied 375 U.S. 845 (1963). Moreover, a court should “deny leave to proceed in 22 forma pauperis at the outset if it appears from the face of the proposed complaint that the action 23 is frivolous or without merit.” Tripati v. First Nat’l Bank & Trust, 821 F.2d 1368, 1369 (9th Cir. 24 ORDER DENYING IFP - 1 1 1987) (citations omitted); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). An in forma pauperis complaint 2 is frivolous if “it ha[s] no arguable substance in law or fact.” Id. (citing Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 3 F.2d 527, 529 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1228 (9th Cir. 1984). A pro se Plaintiff’s complaint is to be construed liberally, but like any other complaint it 4 5 must nevertheless contain factual assertions sufficient to support a facially plausible claim for 6 relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell 7 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A 8 claim for relief is facially plausible when “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the 9 court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” 10 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Casterlow-Bey’s proposed complaint does not meet this standard. It makes no factual 11 12 allegations against the defendant newspaper, the Tacoma News Tribune, other than to state that it 13 “printed an article that was slanderous assassinated my character as a man[.]” The rest of the 14 complaint is a serious of legal conclusions related to the First Amendment and its purpose. There are no actual facts from which this court can conclude that the News Tribune did 15 16 anything actionable to Casterlow-Bey. Who wrote the article? When? What did it say? What was 17 not true about it? Why is it actionable, in this court (slander is a state law tort)? Instead, the 18 complaint includes only conclusory labels and seeks $50,000,000 damages. The Motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED. Casterlow-Bey shall file 19 20 a proposed amended complaint addressing these deficiencies, or pay the filing fee, within 21 21 days or this matter will be dismissed. Any proposed amended complaint must address the “who 22 what when why and how” of the facts underlying and supporting the claim. Labels and 23 24 -2 1 conclusions will not suffice. It must also address and demonstrate this Court’s jurisdiction over 2 the subject matter of the dispute. The Motion for court-appointed counsel is also DENIED. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. 4 Dated this 31st day of August, 2017. 6 A 7 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 -3

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